GROWING LILIES

orange-lillys.jpg
 
 

OPENING EVERY DAY…

True lilies are members of the Lilium family; Daylilies are members of the Hemerocallis family. The only connection between the two families is the shape of the flowers; you can tell them apart because true lilies have their flowers at the top of a stalk which also has leaves on it, and daylilies have long, strappy leaves in clumps. The flower stalk itself has no leaves.

There are many different types of lilies grown in the garden; three that are easy to grow are Asiatic (early), Oriental (midseason), and Tiger (late) lilies. Asiatic lilies have little or no fragrance, and grow on plants ranging in size from 12” to 36”. Their flowers are usually outward or upward facing. Oriental lilies are very fragrant and their plants are similarly variable in size. Their flowers are extremely large and usually outward facing. Tiger lilies grow on tall (48”+) plants, and their smaller flowers are downward facing. They are similar in appearance to Martagon lilies, but are much easier to grow!

All lilies grow from scaly bulbs, and should be planted quickly to avoid dessication. The bulbs should be planted approximately 4”-6” deep; lilies grow roots below the surface and above the bulb, as well as below the bulb, and these roots give additional support to the stalks. If planting a potted lily, plant it at the same depth it was in the pot. Space lilies 6”-12” apart & plant several of one kind together in a clump for the best show. Lilies need good drainage; if planted in a wet soil (especially in winter), they will rot. Compost or other organic matter should be added to very hard or dry soils. When planting, add a small amount of fertilizer (we like Espoma’s Bulb-Tone) to the bottom of the hole. Fertilize lightly or add a layer of compost to the lilies each year in the early springtime.

Lilies love a sunny location but also thrive in a spot that gets shade from the hottest afternoon sun. The flowers last longer when not in full sun, and the bulbs appreciate being kept cool. A mulch layer or combination planting with low, spreading flowers will also help keep them cool. Most lilies do not need staking, although taller varieties in a windy location may need support.

If cutting lilies to bring indoors, do not take more of the stem than is absolutely necessary; the bulb uses the energy from the stem and leaves to rejuvenate for the next year. After a flower dies on the stem, cut behind the blossom so the plant won’t waste energy on seed development. Do not cut the stem back to the ground until it has dried out and turned brown.

 Lilies are seldom bothered by insects or disease…but deer, rabbits and voles may be a problem. Animal repellents such as Plant-Skydd or Liquid Fence should keep your bulbs safe!

Most lilies are heavy pollen producers, but double Asiatic and Oriental lilies produce no pollen and are ideal choices for people with allergies. Plus – no mess on your clothes or tablecloths!